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MADRID: The Spanish government said Thursday it will slap a temporary tax on the wealthiest one percent of the population from next year to help pay for inflation relief measures.

Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told La Sexta television channel it is important that “we can finance the aid” put in place to support “the middle class and workers”.

To this end, the government will impose an “exceptional” tax on Spain’s “big fortunes”, she said.

The tax will last for two years and affect “no more than one percent” of the population, Montero said.

“When we talk about rich people, we are talking about millionaires,” she added.

The minister did not provide details on what the tax rate would be or how much it would raise.

Spain’s leftist government in July introduced a draft bill to create a temporary tax on banks and power utilities to fund measures to ease cost-of-living pressures.

Spain is battling a surge in inflation as a result of the fallout from the war in Ukraine and the reopening of the economy after pandemic-related lockdowns.

The annual inflation rate hit 10.4 percent in August. It has remained in double digits since June, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.

The government has introduced a raft of measures to help people cope with soaring prices, such as free public transport, stipends for students to stay in school and subsidised petrol.

The government says the measures amount to 30 billion euros ($30 billion), or 2.3 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product.

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